The Rabbinic Council of Progressive Rabbis for the Australasian region has come out in support of marriage equality and urged the Gillard Government to act.

“We, the members of the Moetzah, the Rabbinic Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, Asia and New Zealand, support marriage equality under Australian law,” the Council wrote in a statement.

“Judaism teaches that all human beings are created … in the image of God, and are therefore entitled to full dignity and equality. The Jewish people are all too familiar with discrimination and worse, and we reject it however rationalised.”

“Australian law should guarantee equality; marriage being both a religious and a civil status. There is no reason for Australian law to limit or discriminate against the civil or legal rights of any individual or group.”

“Therefore, we, the Moetzah, call upon the Australian Government to enact speedily legislation granting full marriage equality.”

Australian Marriage Equality National Convener, Alex Greenwich, and the former head of the Australian Medical Association, Prof. Kerryn Phelps (pictured), both welcomed the statement which they said highlighted support for marriage equality among many people of faith.

“We welcome the Rabbis’ strong statement in support of marriage equality because it highlights that people of faith can and do support full legal equality for all Australians,” Greenwich said.

“Too often this issue is wrongly portrayed as ‘God vs gays’ when it is really about the equality and dignity of all people.”

“The statement is important, not only because it is made by religious leaders, but because it is based on religious values such as the recognition of human dignity and because it recalls the deep discrimination Jewish people have endured.”

Phelps, who was married in a Jewish ceremony in the US to her wife Jackie Stricker-Phelps said she was pleased that leaders from her faith had decided to declare support for my marriage and call on the Australian Government to do the same.

“Rabbis have been performing same-sex marriage ceremonies for some years now, and it’s important these marriages have the same legal recognition as other marriages,” Phelps said.

“The recognition and respect that my faith provides our relationship gives us great strength.”

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